MEEBOT & SWIFT – a beginners guide for the classroom

Challenge based learning – the big idea!

As a Digital Genius Ambassador I view emerging technologies as the passport to new opportunities to explore and extend skills in communication, with digital storytelling and creativity. My role is to draw together a larger network of experts to offer students the chance to be amazing!

I’m a huge fan of trying out new tech, especially on a promise to code a dancing robot! But, I’m always wary…as a teacher faced with a class of students it’s got to work and I’ve got to know the pitfalls. This post shares the process I went through.

Step 1: download the app for iPhone and iPad.Jimu Robot app

Step 2: Open the box! The  colourful boxes make it straightforward to locate the parts needed.

Step 3: Build – the app opens to a clear interface which allows you to manipulate each piece by zooming and rotating to check accuracy. The handy open book icon allows the builder to check the piece they have selected is the right piece, which is invaluable.

Top Tips for students:

  • #1 when you open the plastic bags of pieces (some of which are tiny) decant them into the colourful box or have a couple of trays/bowls ready to put them in to contain them but with easy access.
  • #2 find the recharging and power adapter (yellow box), start the charging of the main control unit (blue box) to save time and avoid disappointment at the end of the build.
  • #3 if you’re building alone, fine you can spread out the components. If you’re  building in teams it’s best to build the two (symmetrical) halves. One group start at 0/18 and the other from 10/18.  It is just about possible to build the head separately too 15/18.  However, you’ll need to be certain you use the correct servos.

The build process took me 2 hours. Yes, I was extra careful and yes, I was working uninterrupted.  But with no previous knowledge of building a robot it was a satisfying  task and ended with a working robot. The building process is very rewarding. It is a tad fiddly to hold loose components when making but an expert lego devotee would still enjoy the challenge. A whole class build would be ambitious. Although, an after school club would be able to collaborate to build this characterful robot.

Once the robot is built pairing is simple, proximity features quickly connect the app to the robot (if the main control unit has been charged). Then is the fun bit. By using the pre programmed actions, the MeeBot will dance and move exuberantly to everyone’s delight!

But, where’s the learning ?

The amazing thing about the MeeBot is that the students can quickly begin to code their own movements using the block code or in Swift. The icons allow the students to locate visually the part of the robot being coded and gives them full automony to change variables…

I can feel a Dance off #can’t touch this! 




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